Retaining customers and attracting new ones can seem like a full-time job for many car dealerships. After all, there are plenty of places for local consumers to buy and service vehicles.
So how can you create loyal customers and bring in new business?
One proven way is to hold customer appreciation events. These events not only make consumers feel special but also showcase your dealership, products and services.
Customer appreciation events can help boost CSI scores, which should matter to every dealership, since the customer experience still reigns supreme.
Take a look at these nine ideas for creating car dealership events that current and potential customers will love!
1. Throw a Customer Appreciation Party
Everyone loves to feel appreciated, so extend that feeling to your valued customers with a customer appreciation party. Roll out the red carpet (figuratively or literally) and give customers the VIP treatment just for supporting your business.
You could create a VIP Event with invitations sent out to those on your customer list. Or, consider opening it up to all, with a focus on showing how you value everyone who shops, buys and services at your dealership.
How do you throw a great party at your dealership? There are many creative ways to make your customers feel appreciated, from providing premium drinks and hors d’oeuvres to party games where contestants can win prizes.
2. Help Customers Learn Something New
Consider holding workshops or events at your dealership where your team will teach attendees something new if you’re searching for new ways to show customer appreciation. For instance, a car care or detailing clinic your staff puts on could show customers how to keep their vehicles looking pristine between visits to your service center.
You could demonstrate the proper way to wash and wax a car and cover simple, affordable ways to maintain a clean vehicle interior. If your dealership offers detailing services, this could be a great way of increasing awareness of your services and attracting more business, too.
3. Host a Barbecue or Picnic
Who doesn’t love a good picnic or barbecue? Especially if it involves free food and drink! Picnics or food events create a fun and casual environment for your customers, where you can build relationships, make new friends and even increase customer loyalty.
Plus, by hosting a barbecue for customers who have previously purchased a car from your dealership, you’re not only showing your appreciation but also highlighting current vehicles on your lot.
4. Hold a Customer Appreciation Day Sale
If your dealership isn’t into parties and picnics, you can always show appreciation to your valued customers by simply offering a day where they can save big on their next vehicle or service visit.
As any car dealer knows, there are all sorts of customers, each with different views on dealership perks. Offering special discounts could mean the difference between repeat business and consumers looking elsewhere, especially for your most money-conscious customers.
5. Offer Test Drive Incentives
Whether you’re aiming to reward current customers or attract new business, a great way to do it is to offer a test drive promotion. Test drive incentives show car shoppers you appreciate them taking the time to visit your dealership to view new inventory and pre-owned inventory, alike.
Many automakers routinely offer test drive promotions, where potential car buyers can receive a gift card or prepaid card just for taking a test drive. If handing out free rewards makes your customers feel special and leads to more sales, it’s a win-win!
Of course, you don’t have to offer prepaid cards or gift cards. You could always create a game or sweepstakes where test drivers get a chance to win dealership discounts, merchandise or other prizes.
6. Host and Sponsor Local Events
Every car dealer knows that hosting or sponsoring events is a great way to increase awareness of their business within the community. Still, hosting local events can also be a way to show your appreciation to loyal customers.
Need some ideas? No matter what brands of vehicles you sell, there are likely local car clubs or car shows that would appreciate you sponsoring or supporting their events. You can even offer to host car shows and clubs on your dealership lot.
What if you want to branch outside of car-centric events? Well, there are numerous ways to show appreciation to customers and the greater community, from canned food donation drives to fundraising events for local schools and sports teams.
7. Offer Free Gallons of Gas
Your customers love a good deal, especially when it’s something different than what they can find elsewhere. Think outside the box and offer perks that you know every car buyer will use, like free gas! Instead of offering the usual cash discounts on certain cars, consider creating a free gas promotion.
Depending on current gas prices, you could offer a certain amount of free gallons of gas per vehicle purchase. This shows your customers you’re addressing their concerns about car ownership costs even after the dealership transaction.
8. Hold an After-Hours Sale
Another way to create an automotive customer appreciation or VIP event is to extend your usual business hours and offer exclusive sales and deals to visitors.
Holding a sales event on a weeknight or after hours on the weekend could help attract your customers who can’t visit during regular business hours. Not only are you providing them with special offers, but you’re showing you value their time while offering a fun and convenient shopping experience.
9. Offer Pick-Up and Drop-Off Promotions
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many car dealerships added complimentary perks like vehicle pick-up and drop-off services to support a safe shopping experience. The truth is, many motorists greatly appreciate these services, regardless of any public health situations.
If you’d like to show your customers that you value their time and continued business, think about providing limited drop-off and pick-up services for test drives, vehicle purchase delivery and maintenance and repair visits.
Want More Ideas? We’ve Got Them!
If you want even more ideas on customer appreciation events for car dealers, don’t hesitate to reach out to the fusionZONE team. Our DNA is pure dealer, so we understand what it takes to keep your current customers happy and attract new ones!